After Derek Thibodeaux was arrested in late April 2024 in Sulphur, Louisiana, US, for sex trafficking, and officials executing a search warrant found roosters and cockfighting paraphernalia, animal protection groups in the state have been commenting on the lack of enforcement of  Louisiana’s cockfighting ban. Cockfighting has been banned in Louisiana for 16 years, but the activity continues and is still common in the state as there have been very few arrests and prosecutions.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all US territories, and is considered a felony in 39 states. Louisiana was the last state to ban cockfighting in 2008, which explains why the activity is hanging on despite the ban. 

Jeff Dorson, executive director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, said to KPLC TV,  “We’re way behind the nation on animal fighting investigations…Cockfighting has been a part of our culture in Louisiana, especially the Cajun area for a long, long time. There is a lot of pride associated with it…In law enforcement in Louisiana, we find, although we are supportive of them, and don’t mean to be extra critical, they really don’t assign this duty to any specific detective or a task force, there’s no correlation or cooperation with Human Society,”

Enforcement of cockfighting bans in the US remains weak. Last year, animal protection organisations called for strengthening the legislation that bans cockfighting in Alabama, amid the weakness of the current ban. In Alabama, cockfighting is a misdemeanour with only up to a $50 penalty.

In other states, the cockfighting fraternity is still trying to remove the ban. In November last year, news circulated about the Governor of Oklahoma Kevin Stitt having recorded a video that played at a rally which raised concerns due to his apparent support of cockfighting. In the video, he supported the cockfighting community and signalled he’d support their efforts in the upcoming legislative session.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.